Ground Handling Companies

How To Start Ground Handling Company?

Best ground handling companies are those that provide aircraft ground handling services - ramp Services- before and after the flight to ensure the secure, safe, and smooth process of airline passengers, baggage, cargo, mail, and other services associated with their transport by air.

In ramp handling terms, ground handling companies provide ramp services and deliver a wide range of aircraft handling functions- by using modern airport ground support equipment- such as aircraft loading and unloading, technical support functions. 

Also, by using modern airport ground support equipment, they provide provision of air start unit (ASU), ground power unit (GPU), tow vehicle, etc.

In this article, I will explain the regulatory requirements for gaining the approval to operate a ground handling company and what kind of services most aircraft ground handling companies provide to their airlines.

How To Start Ground Handling Company?

You are interested in starting a ground handling company. You should access to the national civil aviation authority website to download civil aviation regulation that lists the criteria for issuance of ground handling approval.

Sometimes, the airport operator may decide on the number of ground handling agencies, which does not exceed a certain number (based on the traffic output and airside and terminal building capacity).

I will mention the most common requirements, and you should contact an aviation consultancy office to help you prepare for the pre-qualification stage.

Licensing Requirements for Ground Handling Companies

The requirements for licensing - approval- ground handling companies may differ from national civil aviation authority to another depending on the airport operator’s policy.  And the need for new ground handling agents to support the high number of passenger traffic to/from/ through national airports.

I can say that the most common requirements are:

1- Written Application to the Civil Aviation Authority 

Usually, this written form is pre-designed called an application letter for the License of GHC. It may contain the following information such as:
    (a) Name and address of the applicant.
    (b) List of ground handling services ( types of services).
    (c) Proposed airport or airports where the applicant intends to provide the ground             handling service(s).

2- Payment of an amount of money as a non-refundable processing fee to CAA

This payment may differ from country to country.

3- Business documents

After the payment of the registration fee, the CAA may ask for many businesses documents such as:
  •       Evidence of incorporation of the company (Such as a Certificate)
  •       Company clearance certificates
  •       management structure and details of technical partners
  •       Business Plan details the following:
      1. Proposed services.
      2. List of facilities & ground support equipment.
      3. Key personnel (such as security and safety managers).
      4. A financial plan including estimated costs of setting up the company, etc.

4- Operational Manuals

Those operational manuals should include but are not limited to:
  • Ground handling manual 
  • Safety management system manual
  • Security manual
  • Air cargo handling manual
  • Emergency response manual
  • In some cases, the Dangerous Goods Manual.

5- Evidence of financial capacity.

6- Aviation Insurance Arrangement.

7- Other additional requirements.

Ground Handling Services

Ground handling companies may provide number of the following ground handling services :

• Ramp operations

These ground handling services include (Marshaling, aircraft parking, moving of aircraft, aircraft de-icing, aircraft towing, aircraft refueling, etc.)

• Passenger services

These passenger handling services include ( Passenger services from check-in to boarding, VIP lounges, handling airline passengers with special needs, Catering, etc.).

Ground handling companies may have ground handling agreements with more than one airline. In this case, it tailored their airline passenger services to match individual airline standards and experiences. And they may use multiple DCS systems.

• Baggage services

These baggage handling services include handling ( Over-size baggage, baggage sorting, baggage loading/unloading, and lost, misdirected, or damaged baggage, etc.).

Cabin services

These cabin services include (Cabin equipment, short–turn cleaning and deep cleaning, etc.).

• Weight and balance control

These ground handling services include preparing load sheets, loading instruction reports, etc.

•  Aircraft servicing

These ground handling services include (Water services, toilet services, air start, etc.).

• Ramp Safety

These ramp safety services include (Security of cargo and baggage loading, safety precautions during fueling, etc.).

• Provision of Documents

Ground handling companies provide the captain of the aircraft documents include (including fuel uplift receipt, the aircraft load and trim form, loading instruction report (LIR), passenger and air freight manifests, and NOTOC for dangerous goods. etc.).

• Ground support equipment

These ground handling services include providing modern ground support equipment such as ( air start unit (ASU), ground power unit (GPU), tow vehicle, etc.).

•  Maintenance

Ground handling companies provide aircraft maintenance services such as routine maintenance inspection, doing minor maintenance issues.

• Cargo services

Ground handling companies provide air cargo sales and handling services. 

 ISAGO Certification

The main aim of the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) program is that all ground handling service providers operate to a single global standard which will contribute to safer operations and a reduction in accidents. 

Ground handling companies must operate to a single global standard ISAGO. Also, its operational manuals must be prepared according to ISAGO standards and pass the IOSA audit. 
Best ground handling companies are ISAGO certified. 


Ground handling companies provide a wide range of ground handling services that aims at facilitating an aircraft flight or aircraft ground repositioning, preparation for flight, and upon conclusion of a flight which includes both customer service and ramp service functions.

There are licensing requirements for ground handling companies set by national civil aviation authorities, such as business documents, operational manuals, etc.

To start your ground handling company, I am here for your help.

Our ground handling manuals include the following :
  1.  Ground handling manual
  2.  Safety management system manual
  3. Security manual
  4. Air cargo handling manual
  5. Emergency response manual
  6. And we can prepare for you the manual of the dangerous good.
Just contact us ( Aviation Professional website), and we will send you single chapter from each manual to evaluate our offer. 

I hope you enjoyed reading and sharing this article. 

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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